3dsmax 2021 crashes - RM in fault?


No offense here, just trying to find a solution to my problem, and since a few things changed on my workstation recently, apart RM installation … the problem is that 3dsmax 2021.3 crashes very often at file opening (not at startup), forcing me to merge the whole file in a new one to be able to work. Then if I close 3dsmax, and open it again, same thing: crash at file opening, merging the whole scene again is needed.
So I went to the Windows Event Viewer, and saw that ntdll.dll is guilty (see screenshot attached). After several fixes attempt, same problem. Then I tried to shut down RM before running 3dsmax, and it seems to work fine for now, no crash at file opening ! Could that be something from RM calling this ntdll.dll somehow and that would explain my crashes ?
My config: 3dsmax 2021.3, Render Manager v1.0.1, Scene Manager v2.1 / Windows 10 Pro / MS Visual C++ 2015-2019 v14.28.29334.

Thanks in advance for your help … this thing is driving me nuts.

Regards !


FYI, it’s confirmed on my side, as long as RM stay closed, no crash at file opening in 3dsmax, but when I run RM, then start 3dsmax to open a file -> crash at file opening.
Not crucial for now, I keep RM closed until I need to submit jobs, but I’d like to have your feedback about this issue, please :wink:

Thanks a lot,


We’ve experienced the same issue at our studio - I emailed with the Pulze guys back and forth a few times to figure it out. They were able to replicate the issue, but only intermittently. As far as I know, there is no understood cause to the crashing, and there is also no fix. We also use the same work-around on our workstations (keeping RM closed unless needed). It is likely that this issue will be fixed when they release v.2.0 (hopefully soon!), which has a completely re-designed codebase.

Do you get an Autodesk error submission window when your Max crashes? On our end, this crash does not produce that error window, which is different compared to other kinds of crashes. It will open the file, the mouse will give a blue spinner for a few seconds, then Max completely closes without any crash warning. Is that what you’re seeing? We also see the same netdll error in event viewer, but unfortunately that error message is too vague to tell me what’s actually going on.


Thanks for starting up this topic, I really hope is just the two of you and others won’t join :slight_smile:
After @bs1 reported this error a few months ago we spent some time to figure out what can be the problem, but we could not get closer to truly replicate and offer somekind of fix or workaround (which would be better then turning RM off for the loading).

@nicocaplat do you experience the same problem even if you load in a simple file wich contains a box?

There are a few things that I would like to suggest. Install an older version of 3ds Max for testing, restart Pulze so it can install the required plugin, but don’t install anything else (vray, forest…), and see how it goes. A more drastic aproach would be a full system reinstall, but obviously I can’t ask for that :slight_smile: I would be very courious what would happen after that.

While 2.0 might come to the rescue with it’s new code base and refactored features, the principle how we communicate and control max remains almost the same, since it worked perfectly for 99% of our users. I’m not saying the crash is not our fault, but because its rarity I’m not sure how to approach it. It would be great to check what happens on a clean system.

I’ll discuss this topic with the team and try to come up with a solution, or at least another workaround until we can give you 2.0 for testing.


Thanks peter! It would be interesting to compare our maxstart files and UI settings. I wonder if there is any commonality. I might have time next week to do a fresh install on one of our older workstations as a test.

It’s been a while since I revisited this issue, but I remember narrowing down the timeline of the crash - it seemed to happen at the moment that RM “reads” the newly opened file to get the current state. For example, if I open the “nodes” tab on RM, roll-out the information for my own workstation, then load a file: without a crash, the RM window updates to show the currently open file name under “running programs”. If a crash happens, that window does not update to show the file name.

Anyway, just thinking outloud. I’m only kind of glad it’s not just us! We still use RM despite the crash, it’s not a huge deal.

Hello there :slight_smile:

I’m sort of happy to see it’s a problem I’m not alone to get !
No Autodesk error submission when the crash occurs btw. Hopefully, there’s a workaround, while not perfect it allows to work and to use RM when needed, that’s the essential … let’s wait for RM v2 then, hoping this weird problem will be something from the past.
Oh, and if you guys need anything (log or whatever), please let me know.


Hi @nicocaplat - I might have found a fix for this issue, at least in the context of our own systems.

First, a little context: We have multiple versions of Max installed on our workstations because when we upgrade, we keep the older versions around just in case. When we upgraded from 2020 to 2021, there was an issue with our library files due to Max 2021 not including NVIDIA’s MentalRay plugin, which is now deprecated. The work-around for that issue was to modify the “plugin.usersettings.ini” file to include a reference to the older Max directory NVIDIA folder (C:\Program Files\Autodesk\3ds Max 2020\PlugIns\NVIDIA\Plugins)

Just out of curiosity, I took that entire NVIDIA folder from the ~3ds Max 2020\Plugins\ folder and copied it into “C:\Program Files\Autodesk\3ds Max 2021\PlugIns” folder. I restarted Render Manager, restarted Max, and kept Render Manager open. So far, I have not had any crashes when moving between files, resetting, or opening a file.

I am very curious if you can reproduce these results! Obviously you might need to install Max 2020 to get that whole “NVIDIA” folder. If you don’t have Max 2020, let me know and I could try to send you the directory for your testing. I will also email the Pulze guys to see if they can reproduce this result as well.

And again, I only just did this today, so it’s not a confirmed fix yet. It’s working on two of our workstations so far, and hopefully I’ll be able to test some more this week. Let me know!

1 Like

Hello @bs1,
Interesting discovery indeed ! I regularly face the problem getting error message about some MR stuff missing, really PITA, despite the Scene Converter doing a pretty good job most of time. Autodesk should do something about this, since MR is now dead, why would it continue bothering us ?? :slight_smile:
I only have 3dsmax 2021 left on my workstation, removed 2020 completely. So if you can share the NVIDIA max2020 folder with me for testing, it would be great.

Thanks again for sharing your experience !


Hello Guys, I just would like to inform you that we will also test this and get back to you with our findings.

Keep in touch.


1 Like

Hey @nicocaplat - Ok, sorry for the delay, here’s the folder in a dropbox link: LINK

I placed that folder in “C:\Program Files\Autodesk\3ds Max 2021\Plugins”

The final piece is the plugin.usersettings.ini file… I don’t know whether there will be any interactions, but it might be worth it to modify. Because you don’t have 2020 installed, I think my recommendation would be to add a second line in that file (located in “C:\Users%username%\AppData\Local\Autodesk\3dsMax\2021 - 64bit\ENU”) to specifically reference the new NVIDIA folder.

So, below the existing line, add another like this:

Additional MAX plug-ins NVIDIA=C:\Program Files\Autodesk\3ds Max 2021\PlugIns\NVIDIA\Plugins\

In my file, that line references the 2020 install directory instead, but I think you could “hack” it to reference the new folder.

Let us know how it goes!

Hello @bs1 :slight_smile:
Thanks a lot, I’ll try that ASAP and tell you whether it’s ok or not.


FYI @bs1 @attila.cselovszki so far so good, no more crashes at files opening since I added NVidia plugins folder :slight_smile: not sure what’s going on here, but at least it seems more stable for now, even with SM open. Thanks @bs1 !

Thanks @bs1 and @nicocaplat for the confirmation! We will check this as soon as possible.

1 Like

@nicocaplat Glad to hear it! I was actually just coming into the forum today to let you know that I have had a few crashes since making the change, however, it is not with every file like it was before.

Right now, maybe 10% of the time with RM open, Max will crash on open. Before adding the NVIDIA folder, it was crashing pretty much every time I opened or reset. So this is a big improvement, but I don’t think it is the full story. More data points I guess!

1 Like

Hi guys,
Sorry to report but I am having the same issue with max 2021 and RM.
I have added the Nvidia folder as described above but when RM is running I get lots of errors and crashes.
Please let me know if anyone needs anything more specific.
Happy to help get to the bottom of this!

Dear Chris,

I would like to kindly suggest contacting us at support@pulze.io directly. If you could collect the logs by RM then we will be able to investigate the issue.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,


Hi folks,

OP here…

Just in case anyone is reading this and using RM 2.x… The Pulze guys fixed the particular issue I was facing with Max crashing after a load or reset. Once version 2.16 came out, they made a few small under-the-hood changes and the crash no longer happens. If you have a crash with similar characteristics, definitely let them know, but as far as I can tell this issue no longer happens. We are using Max 2022 and the latest version of RM (2.0.18-rc), and all is well. Huge thanks to the developers for finding and fixing.